Artist Interview: Yulia Pinkusevich

Michelle Lagasca interviews exhibiting artist Yulia Pinkusevich about her work in Hidden Cities (February 22–Saturday March 22, 2014) and what defines her San Francisco experience. See more of Yulia’s artwork at

Your piece for Hidden Cities, “Maximum Capacity” (pictured below), utilizes salvaged capacitors from Recology SF, San Francisco’s dump to reference population density of Silicon Valley. What sparked (pun intended) your interest in visually mapping this particular statistic?
The recent evictions and rapid real-estate price growth has made the wealth vs. population density very apparent. I live on the border of East Palo Alto and Menlo Park, two very different neighborhoods, so I see how the wealthier neighbors have much more space per person. As soon as one crosses into East Palo Alto the population density triples— this to me speaks about ones wealth and the ability to buy space for yourself.

You have said that having been born and raised in the Ukraine, your “understanding of rules, social status, and human abilities were redefined when you moved to New York City.” What was redefined for you when you came to San Francisco?
I first came to San Francisco after high school and immediately fell in love with the city. It’s very different from New York— its much smaller and quieter but underneath the quiet, if you dig a little, there is a world of excitement full of eccentric people. Here it seems acceptable to be your true self. What SF redefined for me was showing me that a city can nurture its eccentrics, have progressive politics (mostly) and care about environmental issues.

You’ve traveled to over a dozen countries and have lived in a number of states. Is there anything about San Francisco that strikes you as unique?
Yes the light is majestic here. Also the rolling fog lingering over the mountain peaks puts me in a state of wonder every time. I also love the California coastline. Its very dramatic and never fails to impress!

What are your favorite pieces of architecture in San Francisco?
I am particularly fond of the 3 bridges I cross, Golden Gate, East Bay and Dumbarton Bridge, each one has a very different feeling and vistas but each one captures and frames a specific part of the Bay Area which I enjoy. I also really love the artillery bunkers and old army barracks at the Marin Headlands. They are a potent piece of SF history. Plus, they are located in a place with the most incredible views.

What is the last most delicious thing you ate in San Francisco, and where can I get one?
SF has lots of great places to eat. I recently discovered a tiny Japanese spot called Izakaya Sozai located at 1500 Irving St. Its always packed but well worth the wait. Their ramen and small plates are the best I ever had, plus the atmosphere is casual and authentic.

About the interviewer:
Michelle Lagasca is currently an CCA Connects Extern at SOMArts Cultural Center. She is studying at the California College of the Arts and will graduate in the Spring with a BFA in Illustration.

For more information about internships at SOMArts, please click here.

Photo of Yulia at the Hidden Cities opening by Sree Sripathy; photo documentation of “Maximum Capacity” and “Under Progress” by Yulia Pinkusevich by Michelle Lagasca